Should you change your skincare after menopause?

Apr 08, 2023
Source: Getty

Menopause, which lasts a SINGLE day happens when it’s been 12 months since your last period. Only you didn’t realise that was the final period until a year later, meaning few women actually are in a position to welcome menopause in! Along with the dwindling levels of oestrogen in your body, with the now well-known effects, you also get low oestrogen in your skin. And that, my friends, is simply not fun. Why?

Because, before menopause, oestrogen was basically your skin’s saviour! It helped your skin make its critical scaffolding ingredients like collagen and elastin to keep it thick and stop it from sagging or wrinkling! On top of that it reigned in the activity of the enzymes called matrix metalloproteinase a group of enzymes responsible for breaking down collagen and elastin. It also helped maintain your skin’s hydration plus your skin barriermaintaining a good level of ceramides in the skin– helping with skin cell renewal, good immune function and structural integrity plus ensuring good levels of hyaluronic acid in the skin.

After menopause, minus the oestrogen your skin has more wrinkles and fine lines, is thinner, drier, more sensitive and saggier, doesn’t heal as well and can itch you like crazy!

Many women find that their beloved skincare, the products they loved for decades are letting them down. At best it can’t stop the wrinkles and sag. At worst it stings and itches! for postmenopausal skin

Regardless, if you used to choose your skincare based on a colourful pretty package, a lovely smell and the way it glides onto the back of your hand, you’ll need to think again! It’s time to go for science over the frou-frou. You’ll be wanting to use evidence-based ingredients to ensure you maximise your collagen, elastin, hydration, skin barrier and skin thickness. And you’ll want to avoid potentially irritating ingredients like some fragrances and preservatives!

Step 1. Choose a great sunscreen

 Oestrogen-deficient skin is especially prone to UV damage which turbocharges dull skin, wrinkles and fine lines. Even small amounts of UVA can cause a lot of skin damage. When choosing a sunscreen, look for a Broad-Spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVB (for burning) and UVA (for Ageing) rays. UVA rays are there from sun up to sun down 365 days a year and they penetrate glass. This is why your sunscreen should be used every day, even when you’re not headed to the beach.

Step 2. Your ABCs – vitamins A, B and C that is!

starting with the blockbuster. Topical Vitamin A has the greatest evidence of ANY skincare ingredient for building new collagen and blocking the enzymes that cause collagen degradation. It also helps grow new, tiny blood vessels in the deeper skin layers to help nourish the skin, giving you thicker, healthier skin. Studies have found fewer fine lines and wrinkles, less sallowness and brighter skin. I’d choose the most effective, yet the gentlest form of Vitamin A-  retinal. (No, not retinol!) Retinal is as effective as retinoic acid, the prescription form of vitamin A. But unlike the prescription form, it is very well tolerated– without drying out the skin or making it itchy, red or inflamed. Perfect for sensitive menopausal skin!

Step 3. Vitamin B3 AKA niacinamide fix

Niacinamide improves skin barrier function and decreases moisture loss so it’s a favourite for managing menopausal skin. Niacinamide also increases skin elasticityreduces fine lines and wrinklesreduces blotchiness and general sallowness and even reduces pigmentation. Plus it has evidence for reducing the risk of skin cancer!

Step 4. Vitamin C

Research shows Vitamin C protects skin cells, collagen, and elastin. It inhibits the creation of pigment in the skin as well as inhibits tyrosinase (which further helps its depigmentation powers). Plus, it helps with the creation of new blood vessels and accelerates wound healing. Look for the evidence-based form of Vitamin C, L-Ascorbic acid. In order to penetrate the skin, L-Ascorbic acid must be formulated at a pH of 3.5 max. The low pH makes it super unstable, so we often add in Alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E), and for even better results still, look for ferulic acid to complete the trio. When added to vitamins C and E,  ferulic acid can double the photoprotective (sun protection) effects of these vitamins from 4-fold to approximately 8-fold.

Step 5. Microneedling!

The act of puncturing the skin causes tiny injuries and when the skin starts to heal it stimulates growth factors to stimulate new skin cells, new collagen and elastin plus they allow certain skincare molecules to get past the skin barrier into the deeper epidermis and dermis. These days you can get your microneedles made out of hyaluronic acid which dissolves in the outer layer of the skin. That delivers hydrating and anti-aging hyaluronic acid directly into the skin along with a controlled release of active ingredients into the skin. Bonus for menopause skin!

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